The focus of our year-long Teaching Legacy series has been “Standing Strong” — developing a life in Jesus Christ which is stable, strong, and reliable.
A primary element for that stability is our understanding and application of The Word of God for every aspect of our lives.
There is no way around it. You and I must be rooted in the Scriptures. Our Christian life must be built on the foundation of The Word of God — what we are calling in this letter, “The Indispensable Word.”
Whose Word Is It?
There are two applications in Scripture of the title “The Word of God.”
One is to The Bible itself (God’s written word), and the other is to Jesus Christ (God’s Word in person). Each of them is called The Word of God. If we want to be rightly related to Jesus, we must be rightly related to The Bible.
The word authority comes from the word author. The authority of any work is the authority of the author. It is the author who gives authority to whatever he produces. So it is therefore important for us to know the identity of the author of The Bible.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16–17.
If you and I want to be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work, our source is The Bible. Paul says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”
The Greek word for inspiration of God is defined as God-breathed. The word for breath and the word for spirit are identical. Paul is saying, “All Scripture is inbreathed by the Spirit of God.”
The Inspired Word
The authority behind all Scripture is the authority of The Holy Spirit. He is ultimately the author. He used many different instruments, but the authority of The Holy Spirit — who is God Himself — directed each one.
When we draw from Scripture, we are drawing from the authority of God Himself.
Paul also notes all Scripture is inspired. Not some — all. We don’t have the luxury of separating passages we consider valuable from those we don’t.
The Holy Spirit Himself has declared all Scripture to be inspired by God, and all Scripture to be profitable.
There are no books you and I can leave out or deem unimportant. If we want to be equipped — and remain equipped — we must rely on the entire Scripture.
Jesus and the Word
It would be good for us to consider the attitude of Jesus Himself toward The Bible, because for all of us who are His disciples, He is the pattern.
How did Jesus relate to The Bible? Let’s look at His response in a discussion with Jewish leaders.
“If He called them gods, to whom The Word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken) . . .” John 10:35.
Here Jesus gives to The Bible the two titles that His followers have used ever since: The Word of God and the Scripture.
Where He uses “The Word of God,” it means it proceeds from God. It didn’t proceed from man; it came from heaven, from God. And where He says “the Scripture,” it means that which has been recorded in writing.
Jesus’ attitude is summed up in the phrase, “The Scripture cannot be broken.” Nothing can express the authority of Scripture more completely than that simple phrase.
How Jesus Used Scripture
Since Jesus is our pattern, it would be good to examine how He used Scripture. Let’s see what happened when Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by Satan.
The end of Matthew 3 records Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan:
“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him.”” Matthew 3:16–17 (NLT).
You and I might think that after this affirmation, Jesus was set to have an easy time. H e had the endorsement of both the Father and the Spirit — along with that of the prophet, John the Baptist. But that was not the case.
After this experience of affirmation, Jesus found Himself in the wilderness — fasting for forty days and being tempted by Satan.
Please don’t imagine that God’s blessing will always make life easy for you. In fact, in a certain sense, it may make life more difficult, because Satan much more strongly opposes those whom God has anointed.
Without a Doubt
When Satan came to Jesus in Matthew 4, the first action he tempted Jesus to take was to doubt. That is nearly always the initial approach of Satan.
He will not immediately deny The Word of God; he will question it or cause you to doubt it. Please notice the first words Satan said to Jesus:
“Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”” Matthew 4:3.
Remember, God had just spoken from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son.” But Satan was challenging Jesus to doubt what He had heard from God. “If You are the Son of God, then do something to prove it. Make these stones bread.”
“But He [Jesus] answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”” Matthew 4:4.
This is a very important point. Jesus dealt with temptation by meeting it from the written Word of God. “It is written.”
Don’t ever think you are clever enough to argue with the devil; he is much more clever than you are. He has been in this business a long, long time. Don’t try to convince him with your arguments. Instead, meet him with the Scripture.
Each time Jesus was tempted, He responded with, “It is written.” And whenever Jesus said that, Satan changed the subject. Why? Because he knew he had no answer to the Scripture.
Never Out of Date
A little further on, quite near the end of His ministry, Jesus was dealing with the Sadducees, who did not accept the authority of all Scripture.
In fact, they only accepted the authority of the first five books, the Pentateuch. They were challenging the teaching that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and they came to Jesus with a clever question.
Here is how Jesus answered them:
“But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Matthew 22:31-32.
Please notice how Jesus applied that Scripture. These words were written by Moses fourteen centuries earlier.
They were actually words spoken directly by The LORD to Moses. But Jesus didn’t speak about them as something said to Moses fourteen centuries ago. He said, “Have you not read what was spoken to you by God?”
The Scripture is never out of date. It is never just the record of human cleverness. It is God-inspired. And even if it was written three thousand years ago, it is still God speaking to you and me today.
That is the authority of Scripture as Jesus understood it.
New Testament Authority
The authority behind the New Testament is the same that is behind the Old Testament. Let’s look at Jesus with His disciples. He is preparing them for the fact that He is going to leave.
“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:25–26.
The authority behind the writings of the apostles is the authority of The Holy Spirit.
Jesus said The Holy Spirit would perform two tasks: He would teach them, and He would remind them. “Whatever I didn’t teach you, He will teach you; and whatever I said that you might have forgotten, He will bring to your remembrance.”
The record of The Gospels does not depend on human memory; it depends on The Truth of The Holy Spirit.
In John 16, Jesus reveals another very important characteristic of The Holy Spirit.
“He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13–14.
The Holy Spirit always glorifies Jesus. If you ever are confronted by spiritual manifestations that do not glorify Jesus but give glory to a man or in some other direction, you can be sure that it is not The Holy Spirit.
The supreme ministry of The Holy Spirit is to reveal and to glorify Jesus.
The Bible says we are to test the spirits. You and I can test if something is from The Holy Spirit by whether or not it glorifies Jesus.
If it doesn’t — it may sound very good or spiritual, it may be uttered in a loud, resounding voice — but it isn’t from The Holy Spirit, because He will not glorify anyone but Jesus.
In my own life, I am very conscious of this truth. I continually examine myself by asking, “Am I giving the glory to Jesus, or am I trying to persuade people that Derek Prince is someone important?”
No one knows better than I that Derek Prince is just a sinner saved by the grace of God.
Our next Teaching Letter will explore more about the nature of God’s Word. In it we will discover its remarkable power and the effect it can have on your life.
As we close this letter, however, you may realize the need to strengthen your dependence upon The Word of God in your own life. Why don’t we express our desire together in the following simple prayer?
Lord, please help me build my entire life on the strength and stability of Your Word. Amen.
For further study, we are making the MP3 “His Power in Your Hands” available to you at no charge. Just use the download link below or listen online here.
All the best,
P.S. Once again, we send you our love and thanks for your partnership with us. We deeply appreciate your prayers and your gifts. Please don’t forget to download week one of “How to Be Led by The Holy Spirit.” We know it will encourage you.
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.